Related topics

No Lying Found on Elvis Presley’s Death Certificate

September 30, 1994

MEMPHIS, Tenn. (AP) _ Elvis is still dead. The cause is still heart disease.

The Tennessee health department announced Thursday that it found no evidence of lying on Elvis Presley’s death certificate. But even that probably won’t satisfy suspicious minds, said the coroner who presided over Presley’s autopsy in 1977.

″We haven’t buried John F. Kennedy yet. Haven’t buried Martin Luther King. Why should we bury Elvis?″ said medical examiner Jerry Francisco.

State officials said they found no reason to dispute Francisco’s conclusion that the king of rock ‘n’ roll died of heart disease.

The state’s 1 1/2 -page statement made no mention of drugs and did not say whether heart disease was the best diagnosis. It just said there was no evidence that Francisco lied.

The state refused to release its full report, citing confidentiality laws.

″I thought I was right then. I think I’m right now,″ said Francisco, the chief medical examiner for Memphis and Shelby County.

There has long been speculation that Presley’s death at age 42 was caused, or at least hastened, by his abuse of prescription drugs.

His former personal physician was acquitted in 1981 of charges he prescribed too many drugs for Presley and other patients. Testimony at the doctor’s trial said traces of a dozen drugs, including depressants, were found in Presley’s body.

The record review, which involved only material available at the time of Presley’s death, was conducted for the state by Joseph Davis, chief medical examiner for Dade County, Fla.

Davis declined to discuss his findings.

Presley’s full autopsy report has never been made public. Authorities say it is the property of Presley’s family, which requested the autopsy.

The review of Presley’s medical records was requested by the Shelby County Commission, which wanted to determine if Francisco’s ruling was part of a coverup of Presley’s drug abuse.

Vasco Smith, a recently retired county commissioner and longtime critic of Francisco, led the push for the review, saying it might call into question other rulings by the medical examiner. Calls to Smith’s office after the state released its statement were not returned.

Update hourly